2 weeks ago, I attended the third largest trade show in the country. For those of you in the aviation industry, of course, you know I’m referring to the Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (BACE).
This year, more than 25,000 people from the industry came to Orlando, Florida to attend this annual event hosted by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Manufacturers, aircraft owners, operators, customers, and so many other industry professionals came from all over the country to be part of this event. Fortunately for me, Orlando isn’t too far from our Optimum7 offices in southern Florida.
I could spend all day talking about those three days at the NBAA-BACE event, and all of the great people that I met and spoke with (you know who you are). But instead, I’d rather focus on how your aviation business can improve their marketing strategy.
You have the luxury of marketing your products and services to a unique target market. Obviously, these buyers have deep pockets.
In fact, 73% of new private jets in the United States are purchased with cash.
With roughly 21,000 business aircrafts, the US is the market leader globally in this industry. To put that number into perspective, Europe has less than 4,000 business aircrafts.
In North America, More than 13,000 private jets are owned by ultra high net worth individuals.
So if you have an aviation business in the US, you’re definitely operating in the right place.
But with more buying power comes added competition. For those of you who were at the BACE event last week, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
How are you able to make your aviation business stand apart from the crowd? What is your current marketing strategy?
I’ve spoken to professionals who tell me that they spend upward of $30,000 to $40,000 for a one-page print advertisement in magazines that get purchased at conferences. That’s outrageous.
It’s amazing that an industry that’s so far advanced from a technology standpoint can be stuck in the past when it comes to marketing strategies.
Companies are struggling to communicate with their audiences. Some aviation professionals don’t even know the basic concepts of Internet marketing and how it works.
I know what you’re thinking. “I’m able to sell $60 million jets. I don’t need to reevaluate my marketing strategy.”
You’re not alone with this thought. This seems to be the general consensus of most of the people who I spoke with at BACE.
But from an outside perspective, it’s clear that there will be hurdles in this industry moving forward unless companies can adapt. There are talent shortages, pilot shortages, and lack of capable technicians.
Your company will face lots of issues in the future if you can’t adjust your marketing strategy.
Right now, you’re probably getting lots of business through word of mouth. However, this isn’t a sustainable business model.
Since so many aviation businesses haven’t recognized the need to make changes, this is a great opportunity for you to gain a competitive advantage by finding new ways to market your company.
That was my inspiration for writing this guide. Instead of wasting valuable marketing dollars on printing magazines, I’ll show you the top 8 new ways to market your aviation business.
1. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
In order to adapt with the times, the first thing your aviation business needs to do is develop an effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy.
When it comes to your digital marketing strategy, your website will be the foundation for everything else you do. So it’s essential that your site appeals to search engines.
Start with the basics. Conduct keyword research. Create more content.
In fact, 92% of marketing professionals agree that content creation is effective for SEO purposes.
Once your site is optimized, your search ranking will improve. The higher your position, the greater chance you have of getting clicks.
According to a recent study, 79.63% of all searches go to the top three positions of a Google search result.
This is a great visual representation that showcases the importance of your ranking. Websites that are optimized will benefit from an increase in organic search traffic.
Improving your SEO strategy is much more effective than just relying on people seeing your advertisement in a magazine.
In order for that strategy to work, you’re only able to reach people who have that magazine in their possession. Then you need to rely on them actually reading through the pages and hope that they see your ad.
Next, they’ll have to decide they’re interested based on limited information, and then pick up their phone to call you. That’s just too many steps.
Instead, you can market your aviation business to everyone in your target market with Internet access, which is all of them.
If you’re new to this and want to hire a professional to help you out, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just make sure you know how to choose an Internet Marketing and SEO company without getting ripped off.
2. Create Actionable Landing Pages
Getting people to visit your website is only part of the process. Once they arrive, you want to make sure that your pages are designed to drive conversions.
You aviation business website will be different from a traditional eCommerce shop.
It’s not like someone is going to just take out their credit card to make a multi-million dollar purchase online without doing anything else. But with that said, you should still be adopting the same principles that successful eCommerce shops use when designing their website.
Everything on each landing page should be there for a reason. That reason is to drive a specific action.
What do you want from visitors on your website? Are you collecting email addresses? Do you want them to call you?
You need to identify the next step in the purchase process and design your website around that action.
Reduce clutter. Make sure the visitors’ eyes are drawn to your CTA button.
Your landing should be informative without being too text-heavy. If you’ve got large blocks of text that are difficult to read, it’s not appealing and your points of emphasis will be overlooked.
In fact, 38% of website visitors will stop engaging with sites that are visually unattractive.
Instead, you should use short sentences and bullet points to illustrate your selling points.
Once you eliminate unnecessary components of these landing pages, you’ll want to run tests on those elements to see which ones have the highest conversion rates. With your CTA button alone, you can test things like:
Just make sure that whatever design you go with entices visitors to make an action that will ultimately drive sales or improve their experience as a customer.
3. Increase Your Social Media Presence
Social media needs to be a major part of your aviation marketing strategy. These platforms are being used by your current and prospective customers alike.
Even if you have some older customers that weren’t using social media when you first acquired them 10 or 20 years ago, those people won’t be around forever.
You need to be able to market to new generations, like Millennials with high buying power.
People in the aviation industry tell me all of the time that their company is on Facebook when we’re discussing their social media strategy. Sure, that’s a start. But it’s definitely not enough.
Just look at social media preferences in terms of different generations.
Just 33% of Millennials said Facebook is their favorite social media site.
To reach the remaining two-thirds of Millennials, your aviation business needs to have an active presence on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and even Snapchat.
Creating an account is only the first step. Those profiles need to be managed on a daily basis.
Share information about your business. Do whatever you can to get as many followers as possible.
It’s OK if you have followers that aren’t necessarily prospective customers. By broadening your reach, it improves your credibility and increases exposure for your brand. As a result, this will increase the chances that your profiles are seen by prospective customers with the appropriate buying power.
Social media is also a great place for you to communicate with your customers or anyone else who has questions about your products and services.
As we continue through this guide, I’ll show you some other ways to leverage your social media presence to improve your marketing strategy.
4. Start Blogging
You need to create a blog on your company’s website.
Not only will your blog be great for SEO purposes, but it also gives people a reason to visit your website more frequently.
Realistically, how often do you expect the same unique visitor to navigate to your website? It’s probably something that won’t happen too often. Your site might be great, but there’s only so many times they can review the same content over and over.
But if you can publish at least a few blog posts per week, those same people will keep coming back to read your latest post.
Each time you publish a new blog, it gives you an excuse for something to post on social media as well, which is something that we just discussed. That’s why blogs are great for your lead generation strategy.
For aviation companies, the B2B clientele is likely a large portion of your current customers and target market. Well, B2B companies that have blogs generate more leads than those without one.
That statistic isn’t just limited to B2B companies. In fact, B2C businesses that have blogs generate 88% more leads than those who don’t.
So if your aviation business targets other businesses, consumers, or both, blogging will definitely help you improve your marketing strategy.
5. Build Email Lists
Email marketing is another effective strategy for all companies in this day and age, including aviation businesses.
While you may not be adding as many subscribers as businesses in other industries, your subscriber lists will still be a great way for you to communicate with your current and prospective customers.
Segment your email lists into groups. That way you can personalize the type of content that they receive.
For example, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company who has previously purchased a private jet for business purposes shouldn’t get the same email as a prospective customer who plans to use their purchase for personal use.
Plus, email is just something that people are used to doing, so they prefer it the most.
In fact, 72% of people cite email as their preferred method of communication.
We’re living in the digital era. People have access to their email accounts from virtually anywhere with Internet signal
Think of it like this. How are you currently communicating with your customers? By phone? Sending letters in the mail?
I’m willing to bet that those tactics aren’t yielding high success rates. So it’s time for you to adapt and implement an email marketing strategy.
5. Develop a Mobile App
Smartphones have changed the way that we live. It seems like everywhere you go, everyone has their eyes pinned on their mobile devices that are seemingly glued to their hands.
As marketers, you need to recognize this and tailor your strategy accordingly.
90% of smartphone usage is spent on mobile apps. On average, people check their mobile devices once every 6.5 minutes.
Sure, people can engage with your company’s content on your mobile site. So you definitely need to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile devices.
But with that said, 78% of people prefer mobile apps to mobile websites. Here’s why.
Your mobile app will allow you to take your personalization strategy to the next level.
Each time a customer launches the app, all of their preferences will be saved. The opportunities here are endless.
Plus, once a user downloads your mobile app, you now have another way to communicate with that person. Your app should be designed for people to easily reach a customer service representative by phone, email, or chat, which we’ll discuss in greater detail shortly.
Furthermore, you can send marketing messages to directly to the devices of all app users in the form of push notifications.
I’m sure you’re familiar with these. You probably get them on your phone all of the time.
Unlike an email, that won’t be seen until someone accesses their inbox, push notifications appear on the home screen of devices, similar to a text message.
Just make sure that you use this communication channel sparingly.
37% of users who receive between two and five push notifications in a week from the same app will turn those notifications off. Over 30% of users say they’ll stop using an app completely if they get more than six push notifications in a week.
So I’d recommend limiting this to once per week at the most.
6. Implement a Live Chat Feature
Marketing is all about how well you can communicate with your audience.
Live chat will take your communication strategy to the next level. It’s one of the best things you can do to improve customer satisfaction.
According to a recent study, live chat has a 92% customer satisfaction rating.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers for a minute here. If they want to contact you, what steps do they need to take?
Do they have to call you? Submit a message through your website?
Those might sound simple, but it’s just too many steps. First of all, your business might not be saved as a contact in your customers’ phones, and it’s definitely not already saved in the devices of your prospective clients.
So they’ll have to search for your business online, navigate to your website, and scroll around until they find your phone number. Assuming your business is open, then they have to speak to an operator that will direct their call to the right department.
This doesn’t even account for hold times. It’s just too many steps for the consumer.
But people prefer live chat because they can get their questions answered right away.
Even if a customer service representative isn’t immediately available, your live chat feature can still be effective.
Just use a chatbot to respond right away. These bots can be programmed to gather preliminary information about the customer while eliminating the wait time to be connected.
You can integrate your live chat with your mobile app once you have it developed and available for download.
7. Go Live
Going live has nothing to do with your live chat feature. I’m referring to live broadcasts on social media channels.
Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube all have an option for you to stream live broadcasts.
These streams will result in high engagement rates from your audience. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to showcase your products and services.
Give your social media followers exclusive access to your manufacturing plant. Let them know what kind of updated features and breakthroughs your aviation company is working on. Give them a tour of your planes and take them inside the cockpit.
People can feel like they’re getting a private tour of a jet without leaving their couch.
79% of marketers say that live video creates a more authentic interaction with their audience.
Live video also helps humanize your digital marketing strategy. So many aviation companies that I consult with fear that by going digital, they lose that face-to-face contact with their customers.
But now your current and prospective customers can see your face without having to travel across the country to do so. Plus, all of them can see you at once instead of having to appointments with each one of them individually.
Not only will your live video streams cut back on marketing costs, but they will also improve your reach and increase social media engagement.
8. Experiment with Digital Ads
We’ve talked about social media and SEO quite a bit throughout this guide. But the majority of the strategies I’ve given you are free to implement
Having a social media profile is free. Adding keywords to your website and blog won’t cost you anything.
But the majority of you still have plenty of money in your marketing budget to spend on advertising. Rather than wasting those dollars on print ads, billboards, and radio commercials, you can put that funding toward digital marketing.
This is the way of the future. Print ads are trending downward, while social media ad spending is on the rise.
Running ads on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube will ultimately help improve your social media strategy.
Plus, these ads can be targeted to ensure that you’re reaching the right audience.
In addition to social adds, you can also experiment with PPC campaigns that will drive more traffic to your website.
Take Your Aviation Marketing Strategy to the Next Level
While the aviation industry has made remarkable advancements in technology, it’s still stuck in the past from a marketing perspective.
This is the perfect chance for your company to gain a competitive advantage. If you can adapt and make changes before your competitors, you’ll potentially be able to control a larger portion of the market share.
Optimum7 is an experienced marketing agency. We did hundreds of aviation business marketing jobs. We can help your business take the next step with the right digital marketing campaign. Proper search engine optimization and the right marketing tactics will increase your aviation sales and crush the competition.
We’ve made certain partnerships where we know how aviation marketing works. The strategies that we’ve developed will help you improve communication with your current customers.
These strategies will also enhance your customer acquisition methods as you try to reach Millennials and other groups of people with a high buying power.
Follow the tips that I’ve outlined above and contact us if you need a full marketing strategy for your aviation business. We would be happy to help you take your aviation company to new heights.